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Notes from the Rabid Renovator:

By Staff | Jun 17, 2015

Home & Garden Television was launched in December 1994, and 20 years later the American public continues its love affair with “before” and “after” construction. HGTV estimates that we binge watch two and a half hours at a time, completely engrossed in demolishing, improving and flipping. If we are so in love with home improvement, what’s keeping everyone from jumping on the bandwagon? It seems every home built after 2000 would qualify for some kind of improvement or other. One only has to read TripAdvisor reviews closely to understand that many rental properties are stuck in the 1970s or ’80s. They retain the same style, furnishings and palette as when they were built. Don’t we care about improved space if it’s a rental?

Expense and time are cited as impediments to getting a renovation project off the ground. There are also horror stories that can strike fear in the hearts of the inexperienced. Remember the 1986 movie “The Money Pit”? Add to that the challenge of being a part-time resident, and the process seems even more daunting.

The good news is that there are many ways of improving your property without breaking the bank and eating up time, as well as help for managing long distance projects. And best of all, there are benefits for your bottomline or return on investment. One study recently conducted in southwest Florida found that condos that have been updated earn, on average, $16,000 per year additional income over unimproved ones. Ready to roll up your sleeves? Let’s start with a plan.

Planning: The easiest way to stay within a budget is to work within a framework of planning which includes the scope of work, budget, timeframe allotment and available resources. Invest your time here for the most successful outcome. If you aren’t experienced in renovation, it may help to consult with a professional to understand the order of work and time needed. If your resources and time are limited, as most always is the case, prioritize. Ask what change will have the most impact on improving the quality of the space and make it more functional and attractive. Frequently people jump to the popular and more glamorous, sexy projects like new kitchens and baths. These have a dramatic impact but can take a lot of time, money and resources.

One great option is to consider working from the ground up, literally. New flooring makes a dramatic impact on creating a fresh new space. There are so many new flooring options that are cost effective, affordable and easy to keep clean, like some of the new vinyls. One, by Shaw, looks and feels so much like wood, I was amazed that it wasn’t really wood. It looks exactly like the high end wood flooring recently installed in a neighbor’s home.

I never dreamed I could recommend vinyl flooring. Like, it’s so 1960s, right? Well, it’s a great, cost effective option that gives you a clean fresh look and has the additional benefit of unifying small spaces.

-Edie Gleason the Rabid Renovator has worked in the design and construction industry for over 30 years and loves renovating spaces to meet today’s lifestyle. She is the owner of Zest Consulting in Sanibel. She can be reached at (610) 248-1130.